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Full text of "The Gay Genius"

THE YELLOW TOWER                        159

out to meet them some thirty miles north of the bank, and the two
brothers spent some good days together during the journey in the snow.

'Tseyu brought the news that Su Tungpo's new appointment to
Hochungf u had been cancelled, and that he was appointed chief magis-
trate of Suchow.

A mysterious incident happened when they reached the capital.
Coming to the Chenchiao Gate, Su Tungpo was informed by the gate-
keeper that he was not to be admitted to the capital city. This incident,
recorded by his brother, has never been satisfactorily explained. I do
not think it was the Emperor's will, but with the impending political
uncertainty, some officials probably wanted to make sure that he had
no chance to see the Emperor; and so far as we know, the Emperor
may not have known of this order himself. The brothers turned back
and put up at the home of their great good friend Fan Chen, in the

" eastern outer city.

By this time Su Tungpo's eldest son, Mai, was eighteen and there-
fore ready to marry. Research students have never been able to verify
who the girl was. My opinion is that he married one of Fan Chen's
grand-daughters. In Su Tungpo's correspondence with Fan Chen and
his son, he referred to them repeatedly as relatives connected by
marriage. What that marriage was between the*Su and Fan family
waits to be explained. Fan Chen was also from Szechuen, and Su was
•staying at the time in Fan Chen's home. In the next two years Su
Tungpo also helped to marry off two of Tseyu's grown-up daughters
by selecting husbands for them. One was Wang Shih, brother of the
famous Wang Chiung (Tsekao) who, according to legend, actually
"married a fairy",* and the other was a son of the famous bamboo
painter, Wen Tung.

After his son's wedding Su Tungpo went east with his family to his
post at Suchow, in modern Kiangsu. Tseyu, too, was going with his
family as a deputy magistrate to Shangchiu, the Southern Capital; and
after leaving his family there with Chang Fangping, he continued the
journey with his brother to Suchow, where he remained three months
before returning to his family.

Suchow was not only a big city, it was a place of the greatest strategic
importance, holding control of the mountainous regions in southern
Shantung. In past dynasties wars had always been fought around
Suchow, which today stands at the junction of the Tsinpu and
Lunghai Railways. It was also near a region to be made famous in the

* Wang Chiung personallv confirmed the storv to Su Tungpo. This became so
embarrassing to the man that later he changed his name. Wang first met his
-wife in a supernatural vision, during his affair with a strange unknown woman,
but the wife denied that she was a fairy, or at least was totally unaware of her
previous existence,